I’m not going to lie to you guys. I am very confused by your voting. When you voted on the 14th prospect, Jimmy Crooks III was in 2nd place and solidly ahead of anyone else. I expected him to win the next vote. But when the vote came, four guys got a similar amount of votes and the winner turned out to Won-Bin Cho. Okay fair enough. But in this last vote.... Crooks III won in a landslide and the two guys who got 20% that weren’t Cho or Crooks III got less than 20% combined. The hell is going on?
Anyway, the fact that Jimmy Crooks III won is not surprising, but voting itself is extremely confusing. I’ll give you a perfect example. When Crooks III and Cho were both on the vote, Austin Love got 20% of the vote. When you removed one of those names, Love got 2% of the vote. There is no logic to this. I can’t really explain that random boost of support because it went away by Monday. If anybody has any guesses as to how this would happen, I would love to hear it because I’m at a complete loss. Moving on, here’s the list so far:
- Jordan Walker
- Masyn Winn
- Tink Hence
- Gordon Graceffo
- Alec Burleson
- Ivan Herrera
- Cooper Hjerpe
- Matthew Liberatore
- Michael McGreevy
- Moises Gomez
- Joshua Baez
- Leonardo Bernal
- Jonathan Mejia
- Connor Thomas
- Won-Bin Cho
- Jimmy Crooks III
Way back when Leonardo Bernal and Joshua Baez were in a run-off, I mentioned that I had six names in mind to add, and after that, I was much less sure. Those six names have been added. To help me figure out who to add after those six names, I shared three different polls. A poll of close-to-the majors guys, a poll of teenagers, and a poll of a few prospects in between. And the person with the highest percentage of votes despite having the most options to pick from was outfielder Mike Antico. Whether or not you voted for him because he was up against weak competition (though I did provide a none of the above option) or he’s a fan favorite prospect, we will see.
Mike Antico (OF) - 25-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 8th round of the 2021 Draft, 241st overall
Stats (High A): 321 PAs, .255/.358/.405, 12.8 BB%, 23.7 K%, .150 ISO, .330 BABIP, 116 wRC+
Stats (AA): 275 PAs, .233/.327/.383, 10.9 BB%, 24.4 K%, .150 ISO, .289 BABIP, 85 wRC+
Something that may stick out about Antico is the age and when he was drafted. In combination, you don’t usually see a 25-year-old drafted two years ago. But Antico was 23-years-old when he was drafted. Being Cardinals fans, we’re well aware old draftees can become MLBers. Matt Carpenter was 23 when he was drafted. The fact that he’s already in AA means the Cardinals somewhat believe in him. That said, the Matt Carpenter comparison ends at the age. I don’t know if you’ve looked at Carpenter’s minor league stats before, but in hindsight, pretty clear his MLB success wasn’t out of nowhere. Antico will need to instantly be good at AA. (I do not have his scouting information at the moment)
Ian Bedell (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 MLB Draft, 122nd overall
Stats (Complex + Low A): 5.2 IP, 34.5 K%, 10.3 BB%, 53.3 GB%, 3.17 ERA/1.75 FIP/1.99 xFIP
Scouting: 40/45 Fastball, 55/60 Curve, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
I’m rooting for Bedell - in real life, whether he’s 17th, 20th or not on this list does not matter to me. The reason is twofold. He went to Mizzou and I went to Mizzou. I like to see players who went to Mizzou succeed. (And they have a pretty good history with pitchers). Secondly, I really really want the 2020 draft to be obscene. The stuff of legends. Those two things make me higher on him than I should be.
Pete Hansen (SP) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2022 Draft, 97th overall
Stats (College): 107.2 IP, 27.7 K%, 4.4 BB%, .230 BAA, 3.76 ERA
Scouting (TCN): Pete Hansen: 40/45 FB, 50/60 SL, 45/55 CB, 40/50 CH, 50/60 command
Cardinals made it hard for Hansen on a list such as this. You already have Cooper Hjerpe and Brycen Mautz, and Hansen can’t help be compared to those two. They’re all left-handed two. Hansen does seem to have the benefit of having more viable pitches coming out of college at least.
Ryan Loutos (RP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2021
Stats (AAA): 27 IP, 22.1 K%, 9.2 BB%, 52.8 GB%, .471 BABIP, 6.33 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 3.91 xFIP
Scouting: 60/60 Fastball, 45/50 Curve, 60/60 Command
Depending on one’s point of view, the lack of rounds after 20 is either disappointing or adds to great player stories. There was something about the Cardinals’ ability to draft players past the 20th round that still made their way to the major leagues that was cool. Is that cooler than undrafted? I feel like being undrafted no longer means the same thing it used to mean. But it sounds better for adversity to be undrafted than drafted in the 27th round.
Austin Love (SP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 90th overall
Stats (High A): 25 GS, 125.2 IP, 26.8 K%, 9.2 BB%, 47.3 GB%, .366 BABIP, 5.73 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.79 xFIP
Scouting: 50/50 Fastball, 55/55 Slider, 40/50 Change, 45/55 Command
Love has been on this list for a bit so you get the deal at this point. Another older draftee, solid advanced stats, strangely hittable. I’m still stuck on how he got 20% one time and has no other time received 5% of the vote. Any explanation I can think of is wiped away by him receiving no support on Monday. I can’t make sense of the combination of those two votes.
Brycen Mautz (SP) - 21-years-old
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 59th overall
Stats (College): 15 GS, 90.2 IP, 129 Ks, 22 BBs, .256 BAA, 3.87 ERA
Scouting (TCN): 45/55 Fastball, 50/60 Slider, 35/50 Change, 55/60 Command
In case you hadn’t noticed, I struggle with what to say about players who were just drafted who have no stats. Mautz is a hopeful starter whose fastball/slider combo should make him about as safe a bet to land in an MLB bullpen if the whole starting thing doesn’t work out. At least as safe of a bet as a guy who hasn’t thrown a professional inning can get. I’m excited to see stats for these guys though because that’s my bread and butter, not the scouting.
Inohan Paniagua (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in December 2017
Stats (Low A): 99 IP, 26.9% K%, 5.8 BB%, 43.7 GB%, .272 BABIP, 2.18 ERA/3.01 FIP/3.62 xFIP
Scouting: 35/40 Fastball, 55/60 Curveball, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
The thing about Paniagua that I struggle with is the innings pitched jump. The Cards are usually very cautious about innings pitched. See how they treated Tink Hence and that no college draftee starting pitcher pitched last year. But Paniagua jumped from 46.2 IP to 137.2 IP, nearly a 100 IP jump. I can’t really make sense of it, especially since his High A stats weren’t especially good, possibly suggesting he was wearing down or he just had trouble at a higher level. We’ll maybe get a glimpse based on how he pitches in 2023.
Victor Scott II (OF) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 157th overall
Stats (Low A): 142 PAs, .222/.358/.389, 16.9 BB%, 18.3 K%, .167 ISO, .262 BABIP, 115 wRC+
Scouting (TCN): 35/50 hit, 35/45 power, 55/65 field, 50/50 arm, 70/70 run
Scott II steals bases. He stole 13 bases to 3 caught stealing, a rate that would have given him 63 stolen bases had he played 150 games. The main question with Scott II is can he hit? It’s a big question, but it’s the one hurdle he needs to jump as he advances up the levels.
Alec Willis (SP) - 20-years-old
Acquired: 7th round of 2021 MLB Draft, 211th overall
Stats (Complex): 6 G, 11.1 IP, 34.8 K%, 4.3 BB%, 42.9 GB%, 1.59 ERA/2.94 FIP/2.28 xFIP
Scouting: 40/50 Fastball, 45/55 Curve, 30/50 Change, 20/50 Command
Willis was an upside play in the 7th round and he hasn’t really pitched very much since he was drafted. That’s primarily due to injury. I’m hopeful the Cards are high enough on Willis to send him to Low A so we can see what he’s really made of, though I wouldn’t expect him to arrive in April or maybe May given his likely innings limit. They may give him the Tink Hence treatment in fact.
Guillermo Zuñiga (RP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in December 2022
Stats (AA): 48 G, 54.2 IP, 27.4 K%, 12.4 BB%, 38.6 GB%, .267 BABIP, 4.77 ERA/5.95 FIP/4.85 xFIP
Scouting: 70/70 Fastball, 55/55 Slider, 40/40 Change, 30/30 Command
My instincts were correct. The World Baseball Classic did change things. Zuñiga was in a reliever poll I ran earlier in the voting and despite that, he received more votes than the guy who won the poll in the last vote. Statistically, there’s not much of a case for him, at least his on-field results. But he looked impressive in the WBC, maybe the Cards or him figured something out, and we’ll see him soon in the majors.
Who is the #17 prospect?
This poll is closed
Mike Antico, OF
Ian Bedell, SP
Pete Hansen, SP
Ryan Loutos, RP
Austin Love, SP
Brycen Mautz, SP
Inohan Paniagua, SP
Victor Scott II, OF
Alec Willis, SP
Guillermo Zuñiga, RP